How To Make the Most of Your Employee Engagement Survey

Conducting an employee engagement survey is a proven method of gathering actionable feedback. Hiring a professional to assist is always a good move, but if that’s cost-prohibitive for your company, you shouldn’t avoid conducting an employee survey altogether. Instead, start small with a DIY survey and use the insight you gain to justify more in-depth data gathering in the future. When your data is used effectively, engagement and employee satisfaction increase dramatically, reducing the likelihood that team members will seek alternative means of resolving their concerns – unionizing, for example.

Far too many HR professionals begin the engagement survey process with the best of intentions, then find their strategy backfires because no meaningful change results from employee feedback. Remember: failure to take action is more discouraging for employees than passing on the engagement survey altogether.

Step-by-Step Guide to Conducting an Employee Engagement Survey

The first step in the engagement survey process is developing your strategy. Based on your population, does it make sense to conduct short, frequent surveys or to develop a comprehensive questionnaire that is administered quarterly, semi-annually or annually? In many cases, a combination of the two strategies is an effective option, if your budget allows.

Next, consider how you can best pinpoint specific, actionable engagement information. While general questions like “Do you expect to be with the company in one year?” are helpful on a longer form, right now it is better to know, “If you could change one thing about your work environment, what would it be?”

Once you know what you want to ask and how often you want to conduct surveys, select your survey application. This can be overwhelming as there are an extraordinary number of applications on the market.

Determine which software will best meet your needs by keeping an eye on your budget, the number of questions you plan to ask, the number of employees you will survey, and the type of analytics you want to see in your results display. Some of the most popular options include the following:

  • TINYpulse is specifically designed for short, frequent anonymous surveys, so you can compare results over time.
  • Culture Amp offers a larger suite of survey options, as well as comprehensive analytics and benchmarking reports.
  • Qualtrics has all of the survey features you expect, and if you need additional support, take advantage of Qualtrics’ consulting and support teams.
  • 15five has pulse surveys and weekly check-ins, which are helpful in monitoring employee engagement in real-time. In addition, recognition tools are incorporated into the application, making it easier than ever for management to provide real-time feedback.

Finally, communicate with staff members to ensure they understand the purpose of the employee engagement survey. Emphasize that their identity will remain anonymous and encourage honest participation.

Creating Meaningful Change Based on Engagement Survey Results

While your first impulse may be to focus your limited resources on items that received the most attention in the employee engagement survey results, this isn’t always the best philosophy. A single individual might mention a policy or compliance violation that could – if not addressed – lead to serious legal and regulatory issues down the road.

In some cases, a small number of individuals offer feedback on a particular concern, and it can appear that the problem isn’t pressing. However, this group may represent an entire team that is poorly managed, or it could be a few folks who are feeling powerless and disenfranchised within the organization. In both cases, these individuals are very likely next in line for jumping ship.

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Take specific action in response to employee engagement survey results, and communicate the action and the feedback that prompted it. The communication is your opportunity to assure employees their voices are heard and valued, leading them to stick around through tough times.

High levels of employee engagement cement your status as an employer of choice. The positive impacts of a strong reputation are hard to measure. From increased productivity and employee retention to an ability to attract top talent for vacant positions, you can be sure that an engaged workforce will improve your bottom line.

About the Author Jennifer Orechwa

In over 25 years of helping companies connect with their employees, Jennifer has gained a unique perspective on what it takes to build a culture of engagement. By blending a deep understanding of labor and employee relations with powerful digital marketing knowledge, Jennifer has helped thousands of companies achieve behavioral change at a cultural level.

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